Asking Human Centred Questions



When performing human centred design there are three things which dramatically alter the nature and creativity of the information which people provide to the designer. One is the ethnographic setting, another is the amount of time of exposure to that setting and the final factor is the logical and linguistic structure of the questions which are asked.

Current HCDI research is investigating the influence of each of the three, and is developing new approaches which take into account the neural science of human memory systems and of subconscious processing.

Until such time as the final proposals are fully validated, however, a “cheat sheet” is provided by the Global Digital Citizen Foundation which is not a bad place for practicing designers to start.

While the “cheat sheet” is mostly a summary of the classical questions used when deploying the 5W’s method of design, the example questions are nevertheless well chosen from the linguistic and rhetorical points of view, and the assembling everything in an attractive resource should provide a helpful contribution to design practice.